How Does Holden Lose His Innocence

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Holden, the protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, is well known for his vast array of psychological problems which plague him throughout the narrative of the book. From the beginning of the story, a clear trend of Holden protecting his or someone else’s innocence is established, and this need appears to influence many of the events which unfold during the novel. He tries his hardest to avoid and obscure obscenities, perverted behavior, and phoniness. These qualities, which he associates with adulthood, are things which he wishes to escape from by preserving his and other people’s childhoods. Holden’s actions and thoughts through most of the novel are driven by his desperate need to protect his own innocence and the innocence of others which he believes is eroded by adulthood. One of the main causes of Holden’s commitment to preserving innocence is the trauma which he received during his own childhood. In beginning of the book Holden briefly informs the reader about his childhood; he describes his childhood as not being great: “you’ll probably want to know … what my lousy childhood is …show more content…
He got leukemia and died … He was terrifically intelligent. … He was also the nicest [family member]. … God, he was a nice kid, though. … I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. (38-39)
From this quote, a lot of insight is gained about Holden’s childhood. Allie seemed to be someone Holden greatly admired and like, as he spends nearly a page praising him in the text. Holden’s love for Allie becomes incredibly detrimental when Allie died. Being only thirteen, the death had an especially large impact on Holden which results in him doing something shockingly violent. The extent which Holden goes through to show his emotions, like breaking all the windows until his hand is permanently injured, indicates the severity of the effect which the death had on Holden’s

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